About one in four small businesses I work with have blocked their caller ID on their outgoing calls. This means that when they call, their in-coming call shows up as "Private" or "Unavailable" or with some other unhelpful words on caller-ID screens.
How do I know this?
Because now, during the November, 2008 election campaign I have been getting a flurry of automated calls without good caller information. When I have answered them, I received lots of pleas for me to vote for specific candidates and to choose YES or NO on different propositions.
I have started looking at the caller ID screen before interrupting my work and taking the call. I don't need to hear another word about Prop 7, Prop 8, or Props A-V. So, I let calls without identifying information and calls from obvious telemarketing sources go to voicemail.
That's when I realized that some of my clients, calling from their offices, were not displaying their names and numbers. I found their messages on the message machine.
Okay, going to your web designer's voicemail is not a tragedy for your business. I'll call you back.
But, many people use caller ID information to determine whether they want to answer the phone or not. Some of those folks who screen calls based on caller ID are your clients or potential clients.
Your business phone should proudly proclaim your business name and number. Let your clients know that it's you on the phone -- they'll be more likely to pick up and talk with you.
Talk to your phone company. Most will start sending your information without any charge to you. If you have a phone system with many outgoing lines, talk to the system provider to see if you can get all of your outgoing lines to display your incoming phone number. This display will let your clients call you back more easily.
Broadcast your caller ID... I don't want to miss your call!